By Faruk Zorlu
ANKARA (AA) - The UN human rights chief has urged Egypt to respect protesters as she voiced concern about wide-spread arrests.
"I urge the authorities to radically change their approach to any future protests, including those that may take place today,” Michelle Bachelet said in a statement Friday. "I remind the Egyptian government that under international law people have a right to protest peacefully.”
Egypt has seen anti-government protests following a video by Mohamed Ali, an ex-contractor with the Egyptian army, in which he accused President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of corruption and squandering state funds to build presidential palaces and villas.
The video has triggered a series of social media campaigns that have reflected growing anger among Egyptians.
Bachelet said she has serious concerns about wide-spread detentions in Egypt. "All those arrested and detained solely for exercising their rights should be released immediately," she said, and noted their right of freedom of expression. "They also have a right to express their opinions, including on social media. They should never be detained, let alone charged with serious offenses, simply for exercising those rights."
More than 2,000 people were detained, including lawyers, human rights defenders, political activists, university professors and journalists on Sept. 20-21, she said.
"Any response by the security forces should be in line with international norms and standards regarding the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as well as fair trial," she added.